Tasting: March 31, 2015
Style: Imperial IPA
Beer # 720
There’s this east coast – west coast thing in beer. Funny, there seems to be a east coast – west coast thing with a lot of things. Can you say west coast offense versus smash mouth football? It’s been long held that the west coast has Pliny the Elder and the east coast has Heady Topper. I might be a bit biased but I see more and more east coast regional gems from the likes of New England Brewing, Second Fiddle, Other Half, Carton, Kane, Maine and more. Add these contenders to the giants of Vermont – The Alchemist, Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Hill Farmstead and the east coast has amassed a powerful arsenal of world-class IPA.
I’ve attempted to acquire Sip of Sunshine (SOS) via trade for months but to no avail. One trader suggested that he liked SOS more than Heady Topper – that’s heavy praise in my book. Ultimately, I was able to acquire four cans of Sip of Sunshine and stopped by my friend Mike’s to pop open a couple. I was absolutely blown away. Even so much that I might slide Sip of Sunshine ahead of Heady Topper in my rankings. I thought to myself, that I’d love to do a side-by-side with Heady Topper just to see if one stands out more than the other. The problem was that I couldn’t imagine having two equally fresh cans of each contestant.
Well, I guess the planets aligned and I find myself with multiple cans of both beer…
Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine on the left – a bit darker than the Heady Topper on the right. Really these two beers are nearly a dead ringer for each other. Although the differences are subtle, I’d say Heady Topper carries a bit more bitterness and Sip of Sunshine carries a tad bit more juicy sweetness. Both are outstanding. I’ll put Sip of Sunshine at an equally impressive 97 points but I guess if push came to shove, I’d have to give the slight edge to Sip of Sunshine.